Clinical Center News
Winter 2020

Code "BERT" available throughout Clinical Center beginning Feb. 10

Step 1: Call Page Operator at 301-496-1211; Step 2: Say: We have a behavioral emergency. Please call a Code BERT; Step 3: Provide: Building 10 (Magnuson or CRC) Patient Care Unit/CC Location

To enhance a culture of safety for Clinical Center patients and staff, the new code "BERT" (NIH staff only) (short for Behavioral Emergency Response Team) will become available to all patient care staff beginning Feb. 10. The code was designed to protect staff and identify patients who would benefit from specialized consult services.

A focused response team with skills and training to communicate and safely intervene in crisis situations will be on call 24/7 to assist CC staff with patients exhibiting escalating or violent behavior. The team can be also called to assist and to verbally de-escalate situations involving patients' family members and visitors.

Within five minutes, BERT will assemble a team, arrive at the call point, receive a report from the assigned nurse or nursing staff, and provide verbal and/or physical crisis de-escalation depending on the assessment of risk. The Psychiatry Consultation Liaison Service and/or NIH Police will assist as needed.

As a reminder to staff, code BERTs are only called for crisis situations involving patients, their family members or visitors. The NIH CIVIL Office (301) 402-4845 or NIH Police are available to keep hospital environment that is safe and respectful for everyone. For incidents occurring outside Building 10, contact the NIH Police at 911.

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